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NBA 2K11


Michael Jordan is still the most well known professional basketball player in the world, despite being out of the game for over 7 years. His amazing talent brought new life into the NBA and also to American dominance in Olympic basketball in the early Nineties. Itís no surprise that 2K Sports would want to feature him in their newest version of the 2K franchise. Not only does Jordan snag the cover of NBA 2K11, reliving his greatest victories is an integral part of the game in addition to seeing how he would stack up against the stars of today. The presentation immediately whisks you into the í91 NBA finals game where Michael made his first major mark on basketball. Itís flashy, but with tremendous substance.

michael jordan in nba 2k11

In fact, 2K has setup an inventive system that allows you to unlock Jordanís signature moves by completing a series of challenges based off his past history. It isnít terribly entertaining unless you remember those games specifically, but a great inclusion for older players. In addition to the moves, you also unlock a rookie version of Jordan after completing the challenges. You can toss him into any team and start developing his career. If you want to toss him into the Bulls and start to build another dynasty, you certainly can.

One huge change in the AI this year is the improved quality of the defense and their ability to adapt to changes in playstyles. You canít simple drive to the basket with Jordan or Kobe each time and expect to score. The game is much more dependent on calling plays and making sure that you are mixing it up to continue scoring. You also canít chuck the ball down the court and expect it to land in your teamís hands. This can be overcome by adapting to the new changes in the control system and use the right stick to dribble around opponents before kicking to the Center for a quick layup. Thereís a much broader range of motion with the control stick and itís definitely a solid improvement over last yearís game.

celtics versus magic nba 2k11

The modes are mostly the same with slight tweaks to the franchise and My Player modes. Grooming your basketball great can be painstakingly slow at times working up to getting into the NBA, but rewarding once you get there. Thereís a new interview system setup for you to choose responses to questions regarding the game or the team at large. If you respond favorably, the crowd and team will love you. If you go the opposite direction, get ready to hear a smattering of boos on the court and a pissed off bunch of teammates. If you reach superstar status, you can get endorsements and apparel molded around your player. Itís pretty darn cool to see other players wearing Air Fluffy Unicorns (the name of my superstar).

Video game basketball is only entertaining when the game is lag free and that precludes NBA 2K11ís multiplayer from being exceptional. The persistent lag rears its ugly head occasionally when just two players are controlling the teams and becomes incredibly worse when the 10 player team-up mode. It reminded me of attempting to play online on my Dreamcast with the ole 56K modem; simply unplayable with endless jerky motions. It damages the ability to shoot free throws, hit jump shots or play defense against the other team. I tried 5 different matches with the players ranging from five to nine controller players on the court and nothing was remotely playable.

lebron in heat jersey nba 2k11

Graphics

  • You can tell there was a ton of focus on polishing the visuals for nearly everything that Jordan is featured in. His character model and favorite moves are perfectly crafted in design and animation. The remaining character models seem to be regurgitated from the previous year, but they were good to being with. Kobe still looks strange though. With the exception of the online modes, the framerate is rock solid and the animations are incredibly slick. I was amazed at the visuals five years ago on a high definition television, but these actually look like a real game at times with the crowd swaying the background and players driving with the presentation camera going. Itís easy to fool friends or relatives that arenít familiar with the advances that have been made with the in-game engines in these sports games like Madden and NBA 2K11. (One interesting note about the graphics: 2K Sports is releasing a free update for those with 3D televisions, updating the visual engine to 3D HD.)

Audio

  • The amount of new voice recordings that populate NBA 2K11 is really phenomenal. Sound effects along, I heard tons of new on-court calls, crowd chants and loudspeaker sound during each game I played. Thereís also a wider variety of team specific music at the games. You will find songs from Snoop Dogg, The Alan Parsons Project, The Russian Futurists, Failsafe, Sonny Bones and even Ron Artest in the game. Regarding in game commentary, Clark Kellogg and Kevin Harlan both return to call the games and 2K Sports added Doris Burke on the sidelines this year for reporting and interviews. The conversation flows seamlessly between the main commentators and the sideline, really exceptional! The commentary also keeps up with the in-game action almost flawlessly. I only ran into a couple instances of commentary that was too slow for the change in possession.

michael jordan dunking the ball

Conclusion

With the exception of the horrific online performance, NBA 2K11 is really an exceptional basketball title with a ridiculous amount of depth and a shockingly challenging AI. Itís a shame that 2K Sports dropped the ball in the online arena, but perhaps patches will help performance in the future. Anyway, just the ability to relive some of Jordanís greatest moments is going to be thrilling for any fan of basketball that got a chance to watch Jordan in action as well as for younger players that never got a chance to see him. Donít hesitate to pick up NBA 2K11 if you are looking for the best basketball game currently available for the Xbox 360 or Playstation 3.



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